Analysis and Discussion of Style Wars

These hip hop kids are reimagining and reconstructing the face of the city, with color and unique designs. Take a look at the place and it seems pretty bleak, white washed and gray, up until you spot some of this graffiti which just seems to pop out at you. Their bold and expressive, even though half the time it’s just words, it adds a little bit of that grunge like design to what appears to be a bland world.

Break dancing plays into the language of freedom in that it is a dance of expression rather than a dance, like ballet, which follows a strict conduct of motions. Thus rather than having to do something a certain specific way, one can get creative and make their own moves. I also find that break dancing plays into the language of freedom because it can be publicly viewed. There isn’t a stage performance so to speak there’s for the most part just the street, and anyone can be an onlooker. Hip-hop culture itself plays into this concept of being able to control an otherwise powerless demographic in that it is a public thing. Anyone can see or do it, or see it you don’t necessarily need to be in a specific place to participate.

In order to make the statement on if graffiti and tagging is an attempt at ownership, I believe it all depends on what the tagger is tagging or what the graffiti artist is making with their art. An artist whom is consistently displaying a name upon public areas? Perhaps but Banksy for example is a graffiti artist whom I don’t think ever expresses a form of ownership through his work but rather displays ideas of controversy and criticism in areas people will see. This is why Banksy chooses corporate spaces or security walls as his site for his graffiti, simply because he wishes to make a statement, one that doesn’t involve any form of ownership but rather another way of thinking and looking at the area.

Hip-hop culture is meant for a wide variety. In a sense it doesn’t matter what race you are, where you come from because you are interconnected on a different level, an artistic one. This is how hip-hop culture defies societal expectations and stereotypes of social scales, because it ignores this societal mess of judgment and looks past it to obtain its warrant. Affluent/white kids are attracted to graffiti because of some of these concepts found in hip-hop, in that they can display a form of art to a larger group of people, the public. It is a view anyone can obtain and I think that is why it attracts some of the artists it does because just like a public mural one does not have to pay to see it.

Hip-hop artists use their own body as a means to activate, penetrate, and shift the social and political space of the city, not only through graffiti but different mediums as well. This is done through music, through dance and through their every day attire. Hip-hop attire is bold and because it is bold and colorful captures a viewer’s attention. Fluorescent colors will attract one’s eyes believe it or not. In fact it rather stands out on the street. As for music, hip-hop music addresses in a creative way public yet rebellious issues. It goes against the mainstream using catchy beats to grab the attention of its listeners. What I have come to notice is that it mainly uses the lower bass sound in its background, a sound that is very catchy and appeasing to ones ears. Hip-hop dance is a public and innovative dance. The dance is usually portrayed in public areas and available for the public to see. There are no walls barricading this dance medium and thus almost anyone can access seeing it. Perhaps this is what is meant by “make your mark in society, not on society.” One should make their statement available to the public not barricade it behind locked doors.

The statement: “Yeah, I vandalism (sic), but I did something to make your eyes open up, right? So what are you talking about it for?” argues that although it may be considered vandalism it is vandalism because it managed to grab your attention in such a way that you entirely noticed it. Thus his art was noticed by you and possibly many other viewers; however he feels that it should be appreciated not frowned upon, because in fact he has made it public rather than displaying it in an enclosed area. I never got why people frowned upon some of the amazing murals spray pained in areas like Chicano park in San Diego. I always thought it had this great aesthetic in that it could be publicly viewed. In making this statement I believe the young man here is saying something to the same effect. It is able to be publicly viewed, and I think my criticism has opened your eyes to a new idea, what is that idea? Essentially he wishes for you to share the fact that graffiti isn’t bad, it’s just a new way of portraying a given statement, and sometimes it is all eye catching.

To me, I feel like quality is more important however I understand how more can be more important to others given the fact that it allows for the medium to be expressed and seen by more individuals. Quality I feel presents a more cultural aspect. If anyone has been to Chicano park in San Diego perhaps they would see what I am talking about. The murals present ideals evident in Chicano culture. I feel that bombing in itself allows for more, which then allows for the work to be viewed additionally however, sometimes I feel that it becomes a little confusing to the viewer, especially when one sees one going over the other.

When I saw the work peeled off of the train I felt that a little bit of the piece was lost. In its theater of illegality and claiming a private/public space, it presents itself as well to the public and catches the viewer’s eye in a way that shocks the viewer and asks them to look deeper into the piece. It offers criticism and a statement. It just seemed odd to me to find it in “peeled off” after so many had degraded it as well. The art can exist in its peeled off state as well just I feel it loses some of the intensity that came with it in the illegal setting.

Indeed cites are planned out, in fact we have copied the Romans in the set up/planning of our cities. You see the Romans initially would build a military fort and then convert that fort into a city, thus the parallel and perpendicular street routes. Today although the city is designed by those in power, but I feel that those whom claim these spaces for their art do have as much of a right to reinterpret how the city looks, for their art reflects those who populate it. When Pompeii was excavated, archeologists found remnants of ancient graffiti a little different from that we find today. Naturally this was done in a different medium. This graffiti found by the archeologists gave them an insight as to the residents in Pompeii, for the graffiti gave them a glimpse into the everyday lives of the occupants of Pompeii. Their graffiti consisted of advertisements, and sales. It was like looking at the classifieds portion of a newspaper. I find that the graffiti we witness in the city today has evolved to a point we can step back and appreciate its captivating stance upon the walls and trains of our daily world.


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